DOC Chicago Conference

Directed by: Various

DOC CHICAGO is a mini-conference that intends to bring filmmakers from the different corners of Chicago’s diverse documentary community together. From expert panels to a short docs program, community conversation, and networking, this FREE event will offer an opportunity for local documentary filmmakers to learn, exchange ideas, and connect.



Friday, March 8, 7:00pm
Panel: Amplifying Diverse Voices
How does the field of documentary fare when it comes to diversity and inclusion among storytellers, stories, and participants? Is the current “golden age” of documentary opening the door for more diverse makers and practices? Our panelists will share international, national, and local perspectives and address topics ranging from access, visibility, funding, and mentorship to inspired DIY efforts.
Danielle Beverly, professor, Northwestern University and filmmaker (Old South). At Northwestern’s campus in Doha, Qatar, where Danielle Beverly teaches, the population of students is 80% female. These young women hail from countries in the MENA region and sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Beverly will share what the obstacles and challenges are that these young women filmmakers face as they pursue their dreams of telling their own stories. You can check out her work here.
Colette Ghunim, filmmaker, co-founder of Mezcla Media Collective, a new hub for women of color in Chicago’s media community.
Anuradha Rana, filmmaker, Chair of the Documentary Program at DePaul University, and program coordinator for Kartemquin Films’ Diverse Voices in Docs program.
Yvonne Welbon has produced over 20 films, which have screened on PBS, Starz, TV-ONE, Bravo, BET, HBO, Netflix, iTunes, etc. and in over 100 film festivals around the world. She is the founder of Sisters in Cinema and Senior Creative Consultant for Chicken & Egg Pictures, a national support organization and funder for women nonfiction filmmakers.
Marco Williams, award-winning filmmaker of seminal documentaries Two Towns of Jasper, Banished, In Search of Our Fathers, and more. Professor, Northwestern University. 
Saturday, March 9, 1:00pm
Panel: Journalism & Documentary in a "Fake News" Era
The line that traditionally separated documentary filmmakers from journalists is increasingly becoming blurred. Documentarians nowfrequently investigate important stories that don’t receive enough coverage in the mainstream media. What are the historical, aesthetic and storytelling distinctions between these disciplines and do they still exist? How can documentarians and journalists learn from each other?
Moderator: Brent Huffman, documentary filmmaker (Saving Mes Aynak), journalist, and professor, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University
Gordon Quinn, co-founder and Artistic Director, Kartemquin Films
Jiayan Jenny Shi, documentarian (Finding Yingying) and video journalist, The Real Chi/Free Spirit Media, Kindling Group
Raquel Zaldivar, visual journalist at the Chicago Tribune. Her work has been published with NPR, the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post and The Atlantic, among other outlets.
Saturday, March 9, 2:15pm
Panel: New Media Landscapes: Documentary Series
While documentary and web series have grown in popularity, producing a series rather than a stand-alone documentary poses unique challenges. There are also many hurdles to overcome in driving online traffic to a filmmakers’ work, especially in today’s heavily saturated media market. Learn from our expert panel of local filmmakers about the challenges inherent in producing series and how they eventually found and cultivated an engaged and supportive online audience for their work.
This panel is presented in conjunction with Chicago Filmmakers’ Chicago Digital Media Production Fund (CDMPF), a project of Voqal, administered by Chicago Filmmakers. CDMPF has funded several award-winning fiction and non-fiction web series such as The T, Brown Girls, Another Life, American in Transition, Stranded by the State, and The School Project. The event will conclude with a short info session and Q&A about the application process and grant guidelines for the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund.
Moderator: Jeff Spitz, filmmaker, creator of The Doc Talk Show, and professor,Columbia College
Ruth Leitman, filmmaker and professor, Columbia College. Director: Lady Parts Justice League (Kartemquin Films)
Morgan Johnson, co-founder of The TRiiBE, a digital media platform showcasing innovative content to reshape the narrative of Black millennials in Chicago. CDMPF grantee for Another Life
Nick Nummerdor, filmmaker, CDMPF grantee for The Skatepark: Concrete Dreams=
Kristin Pichaske, filmmaker and professor, Columbia College. Producer, Kindling Group. CDMPF grantee for Pulling the Thread
This panel will be followed by an information session about the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund, a project of Voqal and administered by Chicago Filmmakers, starting at 3:15pm.
Saturday, March 9, 3:45pm
Community Conversation: Strengthening the Region
Are there unifying themes in Midwestern filmmaking? How can we amplify regional voices and create sustainable careers? And how can we grow more connections across the region that are inclusive of both individual filmmakers and media arts organizations? We’ll present insights from last year’s “State of the Doc: Midwest” survey and invite you to share your ideas in a guided group discussion.
Facilitator: Amber Love, festival programmer & filmmaker
Limited seating due to space constraints. RSVP encouraged.
Saturday, March 9, 3:45pm
Screening: Chicago Short Docs
This program offers a fun sampler of Chicago-produced doc shorts by both established and next generation filmmakers. Dan Rybicky’s Accident, MD surveys attitudes about America’s healthcare crisis, filmed in and around the small town of Accident, Maryland. Just back from a premiere at Slamdance, Northwestern alumna Heqiuzi Wang’s Roughly Delicate introduces us to the world of Chinese women immigrants in Chicago who fluidly move from the dance floor to the shooting range. Adam Villani’s SCUM (Columbia College) provocatively dives into filmmaking ethics and online dating. Mixing home videos, photos and interviews, Connor O'Keefe's Our Transition (DePaul University) is a moving dialogue between the filmmaker and his parents about his transition. Generation One, by Kartemquin Films' Diverse Voices in Documentary Fellow Sohib Boundaoui, is set in Bridgeview, IL and explores the perspectives of the American-born children of Arab Muslim immigrants as they try to balance the pull of two identities.
Connor O'Keefe, Our Transition: 8 min
Sohib Boundaoui, Generation One: 15 min
Hequizi Wang, Roughly Delicate: 14 min
Adam Villani, SCUM: 15 min
Dan Rybicky, Accident, MD: 19 min
Program running time: 71 minutes
Saturday, March 9, 5:00-6:00pm
Social Hour
Once the panels are over, stay to mingle and catch up with other Chicago documentary filmmakers! Snacks & non-alcoholic beverages provided.
Thank you to Northwestern University’s MFA in Documentary Media program for sponsoring the refreshments for our social hour!
DOC CHICAGO is presented by the non-profit Percolator Films in collaboration with Chicago Filmmakers. DOC CHICAGO will kick off on Friday evening, March 8, and run trough Saturday afternoon, March 9. The event takes place at Chicago Filmmaker's new firehouse location in the Edgewater neighborhood. Speakers, moderators, and participants include next generation filmmakers along renowned documentarians like Kartemquin Films' Gordon Quinn, Marco Williams, and Ruth Leitman, and many others. 


Chicago Filmmakers
5720 N. Ridge Ave.
60660 Chicago , IL